In this Global Totalitarian society; Caesar is becoming more powerful - and less escapable - by the day.
Given that most people are not heroes (and never will be), it is reasonable to assume first that Caesar can, and will, compel our obedience to his dictates; and second that many of these dictates will be evil in both motivation and effect.
What then should a (serious) Christian do, in this world where he stands alone against a vast monopoly of coercion - when, almost certainly, his church has sumitted enthusiastically to Caesar's yoke, and now lumbers towards hell?
The answer is that we must repent; but in repenting we must be clear about the spiritual nature of repentance. We must distinguish between our actions - which can be, and are, compelled; and our spiritual discernment - which always chooses.
We may be, we actually are, compelled to obey evil laws; but we can choose to know their evil, can choose to repent our obedience to them - even as we know this state of sinning will continue.
Most Christians leaders will, if pressed, advocate 'rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's'; but they are, in truth, advocating rendering unto Caesar that which is God's - with the excuse that they have No Alternative but to comply.
What this actually means is that the (threatened) cost of non-compliance is too high for them to bear, or else they think the cost of disobedience is too high, and not worth paying.
In sum - they are not heroes of faith. But then again - who is? But few ever, and fewer than ever now. The question is how to live in accordance with God's creation when one is Not a hero of faith.
What Christian leaders should (but do not) acknowledge, is that they have-been and are-being compelled to sin; and that sin requires repentance (and, I would add, the public sin of public figures requires public repentance).
What they typically fail to acknowledge is that Caesar is - nowadays - on the side of Satan. That is something they (and we) should be clear about from the start. However it may have been in Roman times; here and now, Caesar is in the business of propaganda for, and enforcement of, inverted values. Caesar serves Satan, not God.
Take the example of church closures during the birdemic. Any serious Christian should know by now (and indeed long since) that the birdemic is a Big Lie; and that this Big Lie is being used as a fake rationale for blocking, closing, and (ultimately) destroying all Chrstian churches.
At this stage, anyone who cannot perceive this has de facto made a choice to join-with the Lie, and affiliate with the side of Satan and his agents.
But let us say that a Christian leader is also a serious Christian. Unless he is a rare hero, he cannot (and most importantly he will not) resist the evil government regulations enforced upon him. This means that he has been compelled to sin.
Very well, but this is not of itself a problem for the Christian: Jesus explicitly came to save sinners - those who sin. But this entails that the Pastor or Priest must acknowledge that by obeying Caesar - e.g by closing his church, ceasing to offer the sacraments, and ceasing his personal ministry - he is In Fact sinning.
Sin must be repented - that is uncontroversial. Yet at the same time, Caesar will (in practice) nearly always be obeyed - because very few are heroes of faith.
So this Christian pastor/ priest is in the position - common enough, indeed universal - and indeed a frequent complaint of the Apostle Paul - that he recognises sin, wants Not to sin, but continues to sin. Indeed, by collaborating with Caesar, he is actively enforcing sin.
That is, the priest/ pastor knows his church should be allowed to remain fully open and fully operative, and should prioritise the spirit above (actually fake) health issues; but in practice he obeys Caesar's rules - and closes the church and ceases to fulfil his pastoral duties.
He knows sin, repents sin, continues to sin...
Yet surely this is just the human condition? And this is exactly what Jesus takes-account of. Jesus recognises that perfection is impossible, that we will sin, that we will continue to sin; but if we recognise our sin and continue to love and follow* Jesus - then salvation will be ours.
In this world of 2020, we need to be much clearer about the fact that we will all, in many ways, be compelled to obey Caesar, and by this obedience we will be compelled to sin. We should not even pretend that we 'will do better in future' and will strive to 'cease sinning' because this is not true.
We will not do better, nor will we strive to do better; instead we will carry on sinning just as we do now. However, we acknowledge and repent this.
What then? Well first we must repent. And a public sin - such as closing a church - ought publicly to be repented; the sin needs to be named, acknowledged, specified - else the flock are being taught a false doctrine; are being taught that sin is good.
And this needs to be done with full recognition that the recognised sin will continue to be done. There should be no false consolation that 'in future' we are going to become heroes of faith. We aren't.
For instance. The priest or pastor stands up to address the congregation and informs them that he is closing the church next week; ceasing to offer Holy Communion, baptism and funeral rites; and he will not visit is flock**.
Or, he says that - for the church to remain open; congregants must stand far apart and avoid each other, cover their faces, and refrain from human contact of all kinds.
(We will all treat each other as the Pharisees treated lepers, and ourselves behave as lepers were required to: in future we will regard each other primarily as disease vectors; only secondarily as human persons with human needs.)
Then the priest/ pastor must state clearly that these are evil changes, which he knows as evil and rejects; that he repents his continuing and future compliance with these evil policies - and he asks God's forgiveness for these sins.
(He may go on to clarify that these measures are intended to drive men apart and to destroy the churches. He may advise his flock how best to cope alone, and essentially abandoned by the churches.)
But in the end the priest or pastor must be clear that he personally is sinning by his compliance with regulations, yet that he intends to continue compliance; and must repent this sinning.
This kind of repentance ought to be almost a routine matter for all serious Christians, because this kind of sinning is routine. (Maybe that 'routine' is the trouble?) But modern secular leftist pseudo-ethics has ensured that any explicit failure to live by one's explicit belief will almost certainly be termed 'hypocrisy' (when it is, in reality, almost the opposite).
Such behaviour may also be called cowardice, and in a sense that is a just accusation; but confessed and repented cowardice is alright. Probably nearly everybody is 'a coward', to a significant degree; especially when alone and confronted by the overwhelming powers of the Global Caesar of 2020.
(Like all sins, cowardice is only lethal to salvation when denied. A confessed coward, one who fully acknowledges that cowardice is indeed a sin, is acceptable to God.)
A priest or pastor who closes his church in obedience to Caesar's latest diktat, and for fear of the consequences of disobedience, needs to make all of this clear; needs (in some public way - whether at the pulpit, in the parish magazine, or face to face with individuals) to make clear that he is sinning; that he repents his sin, but nonetheless will continue to obey Caesar.
And we are all in exactly the same situation - to a greater or lesser extent. We all do obey unjust and evil-motivated regulations; therefore we all need to repent our continued wrong-doing, and acknowledge that we will continue to do wrong.
(Just because an evil is universal and a matter of routine, does not prevent it being a sin. We all choose to comply with a routine - we have all chosen to sin.)
When we are compelled to live by lies, we must confess these lies. We must Not propagandise for these lies, must not excuse the lies, must not pretend that the lies are motivated by love of God.
Why is it so difficult to say this? So difficult to say that we have bent the knee to Caesar, and we will in fact continue to do so; but that we know we do wrong, and we do repent and affirm our affiliation to God, and to the Good?
Only thus can we render to God what is God's.
*Note: 'Following' Jesus does not mean being like him - because that would be impossible, it would entail never sinning; and we do sin and cannot stop sinning. Following Jesus means something much more literal - as described in the Good Shepherd parable, and reinforced throughout the Fourth Gospel. Following Jesus is to love and trust the Good Shepherd to lead us through the portal of death to the joy of resurrected life eternal. We must follow where he leads.
**Note added later: In general, the repentance should occur wherever and whenever the information about closures etc. is provided: whether 'live' in a service, or whether on church noticeboards, web pages, social media etc. An announcement of compliance with Caesar's evil rules is therefore accompanied by a statement that these are evil, and a statement of repentance for complying. The specific reasons for complying are not really significant, in a public forum at any rate.
I don't know of one local pastor or priest who has so confessed.
It also reminds me of how C.S. Lewis wrote that God prefers a sinner who repents to a man who never sins and thinks himself blameless.
The overwhelming tack by clergy seems to be to embrace the sin, and claim that he/she is looking out for the health of the faith community.
There is a continuum of churches here that are fully closed, conducting only online services, conducting services outside, conducting services inside with masks and social distancing, all the way up to inside with no masks or social distancing.
This post is also reminder for those of us who are not church leaders that we need to continue to repent.
@JG - There is one example of which I know:
Fr David is in the Anglican Ordinariate.
I am blessed that my own priest is not a coward, and is taking the fight to the enemy.
Unfortunately, what Caesar is demanding more and more these days is specifically that we lie, calling good evil and evil good, so that it is impossible to obey while also publicly repenting.
Comment from Gary comment:
"Fr David is still following the mendacious and sinister [birdemic guidelines], thus implicitly endorsing the agenda to his flock.
"Therefore I don't think that that is much of a step out of the darkness, Nevertheless, even this modest public pronouncement is still much more than what almost all his peers are doing."
Well Gary, I belive that you are completely wrong! And that is what the post argued. As an unidentified pseudonymous blog commenter you can efortlessly advocate that all others be heroes of faith in the face of universal institutional condemnation - including from his own institution/ employer and the valitator of his status (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church) and hostility of probably many or most of his flock, perhaps even his extended family?
But this is - and always has been - an impossible demand for most people (even Socrates had a considerable gang of high status supporters); because of most-people's personalities and abilities.
We just are social beings (indeed, with literally fiendish cleverness; this is being used utterly to destroy the possibility of us *living* as social beings), and but very-few have *ever* been able to stand against society in any absolute way. We have fewer than ever at present, but there never have been many.
I think we should ask for what we could legitimately expect - which is that when people are asked by 'power' to do something that they know to be wrong (and surely this happens to nearly-everybody, every day, many times - and those who don't realise it are probably corrupted already) - what we can legitimately *require* of them (not an option, for a Christian) is repentance; as clear as possible an act of repentance.
Clearly repentance is primarily interior/ invisible, between a person and God. But when the sin (as with priest/ pastors) includes (by one's actions) *deliberately leading others astray* - e.g. by enthusing over birdemic rules, or saying nothing of the spiritually-deadly consequences of obedience to them - and where there is clear and obvious opportunity - this additional and worse sin of encouraging others to sin can be repented e.g. as I describe in the post.
@Wm - I have covered this in the comment above - but for clarity:
If required to lie and one cannot resist (and everybody in nearly every bureaucratic, managerial and professional situation nowadays is required to lie multiple times a day - in most cases the actual job is professional lying - this being the major reason IMO why higher status people are more corrputed than lower status people):
1. Either refuse to lie, and speak the truth - or say nothing at all, refuse to answer, make no value judgment, speak nothing in support of the lie etc (and this is possible surprisingly often - but less and less often).
2. Recognition, acknowledgement and repentance of the lie to God is necessary and always possible.
3. If the lie is an action, it may well be possible for the repentance - as with Fr David - to be public, or face to face in private with all those affected. Narly all priests and pastors have lied, denied the lies to themselves (as far as one can judge, and judge we Must), and spoken out in support of the lies - often implying that birdemic restrictions 'make no fundamental difference', and almost always making no mention of the fact that they will destroy all churches everywhere in terms of the real role (e.g. contra the spoutings of major church leaders; online/ pictorial/ media simulations of church are not church - but anti-church/ the church of Ahriman).
Thank you for taking the time to clarify that, these discussions are critically important and in no other public place are people having them.
I agree, in a general sense, with the analysis you have put forward. Which to try to summarise it, I see as: The flesh is weak, men will unavoidably sin, God is our loving Father and has made therefore made a clear, explicit and complete provision for this situation- Repentance. For most acts private repentance is probably sufficient, but for public acts, it isn't.
I agree with the above, and am a great believer in the overwhelming power of repentance in cleansing sin and reestablishing harmony between man and God.
However, in Fr Davids case, he has publicly not made a case against the Big Lie - his repentance is about not having put faith before politics, and repents closing when being forced to. He makes a case of adhering to Birdemic Health guidelines when questioned, which is implicitly agreeing to that framework, and speaks much of safety, which I cannot but see as dishonesty.
So whilst more than most, it seems still quite insufficient to me. It still leaves the door wide open to evil. I am not judging him as a man, I am merely conveying that this act of public repentance doesn't seem to me to really put much which was wrong, right, even in intent.
As for implying that my post is less credible somehow because I'm anonymous here, I don't think being anonymous on Bruce Charlton's blog really matters... What matters is whether I try and be honest and repent in my real life, which is something that you have no knowledge of.
What should matter in this case is the argument being made.
@Gary - I agree it is not ideal. And that belief in the truth of the birdemic does indeed mean that it will win in the end.
But the Big problem with the church closures was that Even If the birdemic had been real, then the churches should have stayed open - as in the past; because *church Christians* supposedly believe that the church is essential, and that the spiritual transcends the medical. By closing the churches they were affiliating against their supposedly core Christian beliefs (this applies particuarly to Catholics, of all types).
I am not a church Christian, and do not believe that the church is essential - but I recognise that I am in a small minority. Therefore - since Roman and Orthodox catholics are the biggest denominations, and most protestants also believe that the church is (in a less clear way) essential; 2020 has been By Far the biggest blow against Christianity ever. They were tested, and they failed.
But Fr Davids repentance covers this vital sin; so I applaud it. He is saying his church should be open Even If (which he believes) the plague is real - so he is braver than I would need to be in saying this.
I believe that internet pseudonymity is very obviously corrupting - https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/search?q=pseudonymous - and all the best, IMO most truthful bloggers use their own names and identities - William Wildblood, WmJas Tychonievich and Francis Berger specifically - and among the mainstream Vox Day - Theodore Beale. Why not commenters too?
But whereas I don't publish any anonymous commenters, I do publish some pseudonymous - especially when I have got to know them a bit. It is suboptimal, but not lethally so.
Understood. I see your point, even though I am more intransigent on the emphasis put on openly challenging the Birdemic narrative from the root upwards as a necessary step for serious spiritual progress can be made.
Ill post with my full name from now on, no problem. Everybody who matters to me knows where I stand on the matters I comment on, in this wonderful blog.
(I'm not the playwright by the same name, I am from Brazil).
This will interest you -- a public letter from Archbishop Vigano to Trump about "the great reset."
Re; Archbishop Vigano: this link sent me by Andrew craig is a bit easier to read:
All the churches are net-corrupted; but there are serious Christians to be found across several denominations. Apparently, the 'mystical church' knows little of the human-defined schisms and divisions! Nor are these real Christians restricted to the mainstream, nor to the churches.
Personal discernment required... as usual, as always.
(On the other hand, some self-identified Christian churches do seem all-but wholly corrupted.)
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